News / USA

AIDS Activists Say President Obama Is Not Doing Enough

Elizabeth Lee

On World AIDS Day, AIDS activists gathered in Washington DC and demanded that President Barack Obama do more to stop the AIDS epidemic in the United States and around the world.

Outside the White House and near the Capitol, AIDS activists gathered to send a message to President Obama.

"I have a president that has promised sick and dying people of color medicines to live, and he has not kept his pledge and we are extremely disappointed with his performance on this," said Jose Demarco.

Jose Demarco, an activist from Philadelphia, wants President Obama to fulfill a campaign promise to spend $50 billion by 2013 to fight HIV/AIDS.

At this White House World AIDS Day event, Melody Barnes, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, defended Mr. Obama.

"He has stuck with all of us and committed himself to refocusing attention on the domestic HIV epidemic and to provide an essential roadmap for our nation to move forward together," said Melody Barnes.

White House officials say starting in 2014, the new health care law will bar insurance companies from using patients' HIV status to deny them coverage.

And the Obama Administration has released what it calls the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  Its goal is to make new HIV infections a thing of the past. When they do occur, all patients should get high quality care.

AIDS Activists, Larry Bryant:

"Thirty years of an epidemic, we've never had that so that is a sign that we're moving in the right direction, a direction we haven't gone yet," said Larry Bryant. "But we have not done nearly enough. We haven't talked about how we're going to fund the plan."

White House officials say the next step is implementation.

They also say the U.S. is the largest donor to the Global Fund to fight the disease  worldwide.

"On the global front, in October we announced unprecedented multiyear pledge of four billion dollars for 2011  through 2013 to the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria," said Melody Barnes. "This pledge represents a 38 percent increase in US support for the Global Fund."

The Obama Administration has ended the ban on people with HIV/AIDS entering the U.S.  So in 2012, Washington will host the International AIDS Conference.

"Looking ahead to 2012 is really nice but right now people need medications to live," said Jose Demarco.

These activists say the White House is taking too long to help Americans with HIV/AIDS get treatment and medication.  

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